Two days ago, New York State Governor David Paterson unveiled his executive budget for fiscal year 2010-2011. It should come as no surprise that the numbers do not look good overall. However I will focus on the numbers in relation to the MTA. Here are a few bullet points from the budget:
The Budget provides aid to transit systems totaling $4.3 billion, reflecting a year-to-year increase of nearly $148 million.
The MTA is provided $3.9 billion, an increase of almost $161 million from 2009-10. Major components of the MTA increase include:
* An increase of $168.5 million from the full annualized value of the additional dedicated taxes enacted on the MTA’s behalf in May 2009
* An increase of $18.9 million in General Fund support to restore the State’s contribution to the MTA Schoolfare program to 2009-10 values prior to the Deficit Reduction Plan of 2009 ($25 million)
* Offsetting reductions of $26.8 million resulting from dedicated revenue losses in corporate franchise taxes, sales tax, and mortgage recording taxes.
Other transit systems are provided nearly $401 million, reflecting a year-to-year reduction of nearly $13 million. Major components of this reduction include:
* A decrease of $21.7 million resulting from dedicated revenue losses in corporate franchise taxes, petroleum business taxes, and sales tax
* An offsetting increase of $9 million in General Fund aid to restore funding reduced in the Deficit Reduction Plan of 2009.
Click here to view the entire budget.
So on paper the state is providing an increase in funding compared to the prior fiscal year budget. However in reality, the agency will be shorted $104 million. MTA Chairman & CEO Jay H. Walder touched on this in a brief statement which was released the same day:
The proposed Executive Budget Governor Paterson presented today reflects a further deterioration in the tax revenues dedicated to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. This continued erosion of the MTA’s revenue base amounts to $104 million in this calendar year. We continue to be very concerned about the impact of current economic conditions on the revenues dedicated to the MTA, including the recently enacted payroll mobility tax. The continued uncertainty about the economy underscores the necessity of the course I’ve set for the MTA.
As I have often said, MTA must use every dollar that it receives from taxes, fares and tolls as efficiently and effectively as possible. That is why we are undertaking a fundamental restructuring of the way that the MTA does business. To that end, we have begun to dramatically reduce our administrative costs. We are renegotiating contracts with suppliers. We are re-evaluating how we provide service.
I know that the Governor and the Legislature are acutely aware of the MTA’s importance to the economy of the New York City region and the MTA’s positive economic impact on the rest of the Empire State. I appreciate that the Governor’s Executive Budget does not repeat the MTA cuts enacted in the Deficit Reduction Plan in December. During this budget process, we will continue to work with the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance to better understand the issues related to the dedicated taxes that support the MTA.
In what comes as no surprise to any of us who follow this stuff, the MTA’s financial outlook is not looking good. Although it comes as no surprise, this does not mean that this the kind of news they needed to start the new year. We can only hope things get turned around & fast.
xoxo Transit Blogger